Spring forward? Yeah right! Daylight Savings Time (DST) falls on 30th March this year, and I’m already preparing myself for a miserably short day of sleep deprivation (it could be worse of course; poor mums wait all year for Mother’s Day and when it finally arrives they end up losing an hour of sleep when the clocks go forward!).
For most people a 23 hour Sunday means a slightly groggy Monday morning, but night owls like me have their body clock jolted out of sync for at least a week. As a perpetual sufferer of Sunday Night Syndrome anyway (staying up late all weekend, sleeping in and ending up wide awake at 1am Monday morning), losing an extra hour of sleep only serves to transform me further into a red eyed zombie.
And I haven’t even mentioned the effects on my productivity levels; I can’t help feeling that DST has deliberately stolen an hour from me, so I end up petulantly running behind on things just to spite it. But this year things are going to change! Yep, I will no long wake up on Monday a bleary mess. Instead I will Spring Forward as a fully functioning member of the human race… and here’s how it will be done.
Going to bed earlier
Experts recommend setting your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier and earlier for the five days running up to March 30th (hereby known as Sunday of Doom) to ease your body into the time change and make the transition less abrupt. Unfortunately, I struggle with this concept since it’s already hard enough dragging my body out of bed at 7.30am (seriously morning people, what’s your secret?)
So to avoid waking up at unsociable hours of the morning I am planning to go to bed earlier than usual in the preceding week. Oh and it is strictly forbidden to lie in on Sunday of Doom, regardless of whether I have had a good night’s sleep or not. Breakfast in bed for mum then!
To help ‘advance my body clock’- whatever that means- I am supposed to do some physical activity on Saturday 29th March. And because I have done a sum total of zero exercise since moving to London two months ago (other than sprinting to catch the tube every morning), I figure it would do me good to give my heart a workout anyway.
Experts suggest soaking up sunshine at the same time, but with the unpredictable British weather this might be a bit too much to ask. So if you see a sweaty red faced blonde girl jogging around Hammersmith on Saturday morning in the rain, give me a wave.
Good sleep hygiene
I’ve never heard of the expression ‘good sleep hygiene’ before, but apparently these are simple things we should avoid doing to get a decent night’s sleep. Without further ado, and in no particular order, I will not:
1. Eat a heavy meal before bedtime
2. Drink excessive levels of caffeine or alcohol before bed
3. Take any long naps during the day (chance would be a fine thing)
4. Leave the lights on at night
5. Participate in any emotional discussions before going to sleep
All fairly achievable, expect perhaps point number two. But four out of five isn’t bad right?
The other thing you could do which is really popular nowadays is invest in a piece of technology to aid your exercise and your sleeping.
Avoiding the shops
Not everyone hates DST; in fact retailers absolutely love it because of the increase in business. Having an extra hour of daylight during the spring and summer means that people are more likely to stay outdoors for longer, and this includes spending money.
But whilst shops might enjoy raking in the extra cash, it ends up playing havoc with my bank balance. For a healthy long-term relationship with DST I will need to curb my spending in the evenings, or at least use voucher codes
to get money off my purchases where I can.
Fitting 2 hours into one
On the Monday after Sunday of Doom I will not spend the morning petulantly complaining about lack of sleep, and will instead channel my energy into a plan of action. Experts recommend keeping a time log to ensure that I focus my effectively and don’t waste energy on unimportant tasks (putting the kettle on/ looking out the window/ taking Buzzfeed quizzes…).
I will also assign myself a 15 minute break in the middle of the day to clear my head and refocus my thoughts. All great ideas in theory, so I look forward to seeing my productivity levels increase exponentially (cough)
Of course there are always the benefits of DST to look forward to, once my body has adjusted to the shock of losing an hour of sleep: long boozy evenings in the sunshine after work, waking up with natural light and safer streets with less opportunity for crime. Bring it on!